Finding it tough to feel uplifted these days? Well, you’re not alone. More than 40 percent of Americans report that they’re feeling lonely, drinking more and generally experiencing a hue of blue these days.
Of course, it’s not surprising. Most of us are enduring some form of COVID-19 anxiety and lockdown. We’re spending unprecedented amounts of time alone, isolated, bored and too often staring at one screen or another. But there’s good news: A recent study reports that you can help lift your spirits by turning off your devices and stepping outside.
The study, by researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom, the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences in Austria and Perdana University in Malaysia, measured levels of happiness among 286 Austrian adults by using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM).
“Being outdoors provides opportunities to escape from the stresses of being confined at home, maintain social relationships with others, and engage in physical activity — all of which improve mental health.”
After analyzing the participants’ diaries, researchers came to two conclusions:
“Our results…show that being able to spend time outdoors during conditions of lockdown has a beneficial impact on psychological wellbeing,” researcher, Viren Swami, Professor of Social Psychology at Anglia Ruskin University, said in a statement. “Being outdoors provides opportunities to escape from the stresses of being confined at home, maintain social relationships with others, and engage in physical activity — all of which improve mental health.”
This isn’t the first study to highlight the emotional and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. Being outside has been shown to enhance creativity, bolster the immune system, lower pain, boost energy, restore concentration and offer a daily dose of vitamin D. Make a point of getting outdoors, even if just for a little while. Take in the sights, sounds and air around you — and receive so much more.